When Ibex Investors founder and CEO Justin Borus looks at the transportation industry — and the technological changes ahead — he sees one of the biggest opportunities in his life. And with a new $113 million fund targeting mobility startup companies, his company is capitalizing on that.
“More will change in the next five to 10 years than in the past 100, Borus said, referring to the shift to autonomous vehicles and other changes in the transportation industry. “I would equate it (our fund) to an Internet fund in 1996 or 1997.”
Based in Denver with offices in New York and Tel Aviv, Ibex Investors was founded in 2003 with a “multi-stage” and “multi-strategy” investment strategy. This translates into a company that invests in private and public companies from the initial stage right through to the IPO.
Their structure is different from the traditional venture capital firm. Technically, Ibex is a registered investment advisor, although it is not an investment banker. Ibex has dedicated venture capital funds, including a $100 million early stage fund targeting Israeli-based startups across all industries, an Israel-focused hedge fund, and a mobility-focused hedge fund that trades primarily in equities. Ibex also makes selected one-off investments in later stage mobility startups such as Revel. In total, the company has approximately $1.2 billion in assets under management.
This latest fund has a special focus on early stage mobility startups, but it is not limited to Israel or any other geographic location. That opens up Ibex to a whole new range of mobility startups.
Jeff Peters, who recently joined Ibex after a stint at Autotech Ventures, said the fund is looking for startups in sharing and connectivity, electrification and autonomy.
That’s a lot of ground to cover. Ibex kicked off this fund with two investments. One is in Aifleet, an Austin-based startup that has developed software to eliminate truck waiting times; the other is an investment in Visionary AI, an Israeli digital image processing company. Borus told TechCrunch that he believes freight transport will be one of the first sectors disrupted by autonomous vehicle technology.
Marc El Khoury, Aifleet’s co-founder and CEO, said he was attracted to Ibex in part because of the company’s limited partners.
“They introduced us to former heads of the auto industry,” he said, noting that one of the previous presidents was of a major truck manufacturer. “We’re a technology company, but we also have trucking business within our company and things like that. connections are incredibly valuable to us.”